The U.S. Supreme Court made history recently when the justices made two important rulings. They struck down Section Four of DOMA, allowing gay marriages to be recognized on a federal level–as long as the state has legalized the marriage; and their rejection of the Prop 8 defenders legal standing has now opened the door for gay marriage to resume in California.
The fact of the matter is: the fight for equality and the debate regarding homosexuality in general, have forever changed the social, political and religious landscape [just a few] of the United States of America. Thirteen states plus Washington DC have made gay marriage legal and an increasing number of churches are welcoming the LGBT community into their pews. Why, just search “churches welcoming lgbt community” and you’ll come across sites such as www.christiangays.com that provides a link to over 6,000 LGBT-friendly churches.
Times have changed without doubt.
But for one man in Newark, Delaware, the debate that plays out before us in the media and outside our front doors, is one that highlights two very different points in his life and his current standing on homosexuality: Carl D. Wright, now a pastor and founder of The Voice Ministries, was once an unapologetic–and happy–gay man.
I recently chatted with him about his journey from homosexuality to radical spirituality; his view on homosexuality vs. the traditional church’s view; and finding love with a woman.
You ready for this one?
SS: Tell our readers a little about yourself.
CW: My name is Carl [laughs]. I’m 24 years-old; I’m a fun, loving, nice guy. I do my best to enjoy life and make the best of every situation. I don’t really know what to say about me other than I’m just a fool in love with Jesus!
CW: Feb 2nd, 2005. About a year after I got saved I felt the Lord call me into ministry, He put a burden on me for the people and to preach and teach the Word as well as to just want to love on people and see lives changed.
SS: Have you always felt like you were called to be a minister?
CW: No not always…I always knew my life would be used to impact the world, I just never thought it would be in ministry [laughs]. Before I became a Christian, I wasn’t thinking about Jesus or ministry–none of this. I just wanted to be known for making a difference but not in any way related to Christ.
SS: What was that transition period like? Making the life adjustment to dedicate your life?
CW: I went off to Bible College in 2006. I had never dealt with my issues and fell in sin there with another guy. I got kicked out towards the end of my first semester and RAN from God and church…and any thing remotely close to it [laughs]. I ran for a number of months but it was in a gay club, partying, that God spoke to me and told me to come out from among them and go back to Ohio to seek out deliverance. So the next day I did. I lived in a nasty basement of this guy’s house in Columbus until I could find a place. The college told me I had to wait a year to reapply so in that year I got about three jobs; saved up money; got super involved in the outreach; and was at every prayer meeting possible. A year later I was back in school pursuing my calling.
SS: Many people your age are out living a very different life—much like those in the club that you were at–that would otherwise go against your beliefs. Given that you were once more distanced from the church, how do you NOW resist the temptation to do so?
CW: One of the many misconceptions about the Christian life is that being a believer exempts you from temptation or desire…but that’s just not true. We are all HUMANS and as such we have certain urges or desires that because of the nature of sin would be not good for a believer to pursue. I would say for me it is recognizing that the temptations are real but because I keep my eyes focused on the world that is to come I can easily see the vanity in this life and pursuing those “temptations”.
SS: You’re very open about your life before a minister and how you were homosexual. When did you realize you were gay?
CW: Well I guess just kind of grew up into it [laughs]. I knew when I was very young that I was different and that I was attracted to the same sex.
SS: How did your family and friends respond to your sexual preference?
CW: Most of my family assumed and so I’m sure they would have been very open to the concept because my brother and sister both lived “Out” homosexual lives and the family for the most part was very excepting of them. It was more so my “USED TO BE” that I’ve experienced certain ones being non-receptive to, but that comes with the territory so it’s all good.
SS: Why didn’t you live as an “out” homosexual?
CW: I got saved before I was to come “out” but there were a number of months in 2006 where I left the lord and walked away from the faith. I was out then.
SS: Did you always battle with your feelings and your faith during the time that you with men?
CW: No, before I gave my life to Jesus–I did what I did and didn’t have a problem doing it. I just never saw the need to broadcast my lifestyle you know. Faith was no where in my radar of thoughts at the time so it really wasn’t much of a battle.
SS: At what moment did you realize that you no longer wanted to share your life—and love–with a man?
CW: AH, I love this question [laughs]. Honestly it was when I was found by a much better lover. When I finally understood Christ’s love for me, there was no question as to whether I would remain in the homosexual lifestyle or not. When I realized and felt–and KNEW–in my heart that His heart was towards me, I didn’t want anything (sin, in general) to hold me back and honestly I didn’t fully give up my ways at first…it was a journey. Like Paul in the bible said, “I die daily”.
SS: What has the process been like since then to realign yourself with what you believe to be God’s stance on homosexuality?
CW: It’s been a process for sure! Like I said before it’s been a journey: one of ups and downs and I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way but that’s the beauty of the process! The process doesn’t mean perfection; it just indicates movement and progression towards perfection. None of us will ever be perfect but we strive for perfection in truth or a better way to say it is MATURITY in truth.
SS: Speaking of God’s views, homosexuality and the increased acceptance of it have really changed the landscape of our country. The subject matter alone stirs extreme debates especially in regards to what the bible says about homosexuality and what His views are on the matter. What are your thoughts on this?
CW: The debate over what God says about homosexuality is only a debate because people refuse to accept difficult truth. The truth is that scripture is clear, Homosexuality is SIN. Scripture calls it an abomination. It very clearly speaks of that two men should not lay (sex) with each other as with a woman and likewise women should not with women. I think the error comes in when we look through out history and see how “church folk” have taken this truth and communicated it–that’s where the issues come in. Homosexuality is no more sin then any other sin, all sin is sin. So it is the same as lying, cheating, stealing. SIN IS SIN and NO ONE deserves to be treated any differently because of it. However, we can not change truth to appease YOUR sin because you want to keep it–that just isn’t right. And I think it’s important to that we understand the difference between homosexuality and same sex attraction.
Read Carl’s full perspective on “The Great Gay Debate” by clicking here.
SS: So at this point, are you attracted to women or—rather AND–men? I mean, do you see yourself marrying and having children with a woman in the future?
CW: I am attracted to women; I always have had somewhat of an attraction for
women. When it comes to men there is still an occasional attraction or thought or temptation that comes with the territory, you know? I am currently in a [year-long] relationship [with a woman]. We are very, VERY open about our lives. It is my sincere belief that authenticity demands truth; I have told her about ALL of my past [laughs] and she is very graceful and loving about it all. She knows I’m free and she is willing to love me even with the journey ahead. She’s a Godly woman and she has a past as well–not the same as mine [laughs] but she knows that we all have a past and its nothing but the LOVE OF GOD that can handle each of us.
SS: I’m happy to hear you’ve found happiness! Congrats!
CW: Thank you; I’d be lying to say I am not nervous but I’m hopeful and excited about the future.
SS: Well…you never know how life will end up but if you take the time to savor your happiness, it can carry you through it anything. Any who, so what are your thoughts about the current state of the church…and the world?
CW: I think that the current state of the church is one of great confusion. I think that the church has forgotten its first love which is Jesus and has entered into a state of being seeker sensitive. Trying to appease everyone and everything….that is why no one respects us any more. The church use to be respected and the way God is represented was reverenced, there was a good fear of God that existed but now it is hardly ever seen. I think that it is hard to for the world to believe in a God that the church won’t even serve. If this is the God of all creation and if this really is truth then we aught to act like it…I can love everyone and respect everyone with out having to take away from truth.
CW: It’s called The Voice Ministries, and we are an inter-generational, multi-cultural church that desires SIMPLY to know HIM and to make HIM known. We meet on Sundays at 7 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriott in Newark by the University of Delaware; and on Wednesdays at 7:30pm.
SS: Where is Carl at in life now? Are you content, are you whole–give us an idea of where you’re at in journey now and what’s up next for you.
CW: I am doing great! I am content and at the same time always seeking for more. I am a man and I finally KNOW who I am, not just as a man but as an individual. It’s been a really hard journey and no one understands the pain of our journeys like WE do. So the joy and peace that I feel is individual and personal.
SS: Last question, what is your key to ‘Sincerely Lovin’ Life?
CW: The mantra I live by is, “The proof of your desire is in your pursuit!” I believe the key to sincerely lovin’ life is to ENJOY THE JOURNEY; take life one step at a time—yes, have an idea of the end result but don’t trip—enjoy the process of becoming and LIVE the ABUNDANT LIFE that Jesus died to give us!
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– Sincerely Syreeta